Saturday, March 29, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Today, I want to take a little detour to celebrate the Passover. Unfortunately, we call it Easter today after the Babylonian goddess Astarte, the Queen of Heaven. That’s an entirely different sermon that would probably get me into trouble anyway. Be that as it may, we are celebrating the Passover, not Easter which was a pagan festival that was adapted into Christianity.
What I want you to see today is that Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of the Passover. He is our Passover Lamb! It says in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” Open your Bible and follow along as we go through Exodus 12. This is going to be quick, but worthwhile if you will take time to open your Bible and follow along.
The Passover was introduced by God to the Israelites in the book of Exodus right before He was about to bring the tenth plague on the Egyptians that would kill the firstborn male child in every home. However, he told the Israelites in Exodus 12 that if they wanted their firstborn males to live, they would have to go into their flocks and do the following eleven things.
First, they were to select a Lamb on the 10th day of Nisan (v.3). Second, the Lamb was to be an unblemished male (v.5). Third, the Lamb was to be kept among them for what amounted to 3½ days (v.6a). Fourth, the Lamb was to be killed on the fourteenth of Nisan (v.6a). Fifth, the blood of the Lamb was to be applied to the top and sides of the door of their home (v.7). Sixth, once the Lamb was dead, it was to be roasted in fire (v.8). Seventh, they had to eat the Lamb (v.11a). Eighth, we also notice in v.46 that none of its bones were to be broken. Ninth, they had be girded (dressed) and ready to go (v.11b). Tenth, the blood on the household caused God's judgment to pass over it (v.13). Eleventh, once the Lamb was killed, no leaven was to be eaten or even found in the house (v.15).
Now, it gets interesting. All eleven of these things were fulfilled in Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb. I wish I could go into much more detail, but time does not allow it here. However, this will be my topic Sunday morning at Borderland.
First, Jesus entered the eastern gate on the 10th day of Nisan (April 6th), thus the lamb was selected. Second, Jesus was an unblemished male. Pilate said in John “…I find no fault in Him at all.” Peter, when speaking of Jesus said in 1 Peter that we are redeemed “…with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Third, Jesus walked the streets of
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
This week, I will continue our look at “Why Bad Things Happen”. We have already discussed the first six reasons that God allows bad things to happen. They are to demonstrate His power, grace, works, chastening, wrath and to test our obedience.
Today, we pick up with the seventh reason that bad things happen. They happen to give us a ministry of consolation. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” I think that the key word in these verses is “consolation”!
This means that we may have to go through something bad in order to minister to others who have the same trouble after us. No one can comfort a widow like another widow. Only those “who’ve been there” can know how that other person feels. That is God giving you the “ministry of consolation.” You may be suffering just to help someone else. Not a role that most of us would readily volunteer for.
The eighth reason that bad things happen is for our reward. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:20-21, “For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” There is something that we would all do well to remember, this old world hated Jesus Christ and He promised that it would hate us too. You don’t hear that very often from the pulpits across
As a result, many of us Christians have suffered at the hands of the world, thus enduring anything from reproach to martyrdom. It goes along with being a Christian. However, God did promise a reward to those who suffer with him. Paul said in Romans 8:17, “and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”
Finally, bad things happen because of our wickedness. Paul said in Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” There is a doctrine in the Bible called "Sowing and Reaping." When you and I sin, there are consequences that result. And the consequences often cause us and others around us to suffer. We have no one else to blame but ourselves, though we may try to implicate God and others like Adam did in the garden after he had sinned (Genesis 3:12). Sadly, today we live in a culture in which insists it’s always the other guys fault. That doesn’t fly with God. He hold us each personally responsible for our actions.
I hear Romans 8:28 quoted out of context all the time by Christians who are trying to justify bad things happening in their lives. It says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” That’s usually where they stop in their quotation. However, the rest of the verse says, “…to them who are the called according to his purpose.” That means that things only work out when you are doing what God told you to!
This week, I will continue our look at “Why Bad Things Happen”. Last week we discussed the first three reasons that God allows bad things to happen. They are to demonstrate His power, grace and works.
Today, we pick up with the fourth reason, to demonstrate His chastening. The writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:5-8, “…My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” The very fact that God does indeed chasten us is proof that we are His children! Think about it for a moment. I’m not going to chastise your children. They are not mine, but yours. It’s your responsibility to correct them when they go astray because they belong to you! As Christians, we belong to God. Therefore, as His children, he chastises us because we are His!
Why does God do this? - Because He loves us. Hebrews 12:9-11 says, “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” God wants us to be partakers of his holiness and to yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness. That’s impossible without chastening. God wants us to be perfect (complete). It says in Matthew 5:48, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” And in Colossians 1:28, “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” That’s quite an expectation!
It reminds me of Job when he went through his ordeal. In the end, he came out repentant when he said, “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” When our suffering is at the hand of God’s chastening rod, we should come out the same way: repentant and closer to what God wants of us. It says in 2 Peter 3:9 that the “…Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God’s chastening is designed to bring about repentance in our lives.
The fifth reason that bad things happen is so that God can demonstrate His wrath. A prime example of this is found in Genesis 6-8 when it speaks of God destroying the earth because of sinful man with a flood. The world had turned to such wickedness that God could no longer put up with it. So, he just wiped it out and started over with Noah’s family and the animals in the ark. God was demonstrating His wrath. And listen to me when I tell you this, God is very patient. It says in Ephesians 2:4, “But God, who is rich in mercy (patience), for his great love wherewith he loved us.”
The sixth reason that bad things happen is so that God can test our obedience. It is said of Jesus in Hebrews 5:8, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” Even God’s own Son suffered so that he could learn obedience. If Jesus had to suffer to learn obedience, just imagine what we have to go through. Compared to what Jesus suffered, it appears that we have gotten off rather lightly.